Despite improvements in median and overall survival using a combination of platinum and paclitaxel, long-term survival rates for patients with advanced epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) remain disappointing, and the development of more effective primary therapy remains a priority. In particular, several interesting chemotherapy agents have demonstrated activity individually in patients with recurrent EOC. Among these are gemcitabine, topotecan, liposomal doxorubicin, and prolonged oral etoposide. Preclinical models have suggested an advantage for combinations of these agents with platinum, which has been attributed to inhibition of DNA synthetic pathways involved in the repair of platinum-DNA adducts. However, efforts to develop multidrug combinations with platinum and paclitaxel have encountered substantial bone marrow toxicity, prompting exploration of alternative schedules and sequences of drug administration. In this regard, the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) has conducted a series of phase I pilot studies in previously untreated patients to define combinations that are suitable for group-wide phase III trials. With international collaboration, GOG has launched a five-arm trial (GOG-0182) that will compare these combinations against carboplatin-paclitaxel. The selection of candidate regimens for this trial illustrate the challenges of drug development in EOC.
- ovarian cancer
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Bookman is the Chair, Developmental Therapeutics Committee, Gynecologic Oncology Group. This paper was presented at the 3rd International Symposium Advanced Ovarian Cancer. Optimal Therapy: Update, Valencia, Spain, 9 March 2001.